If someone you care about has been arrested in Horry County (the Myrtle Beach and Conway, SC area), how do you find out where their bond hearing will be held?
It’s a stressful time in the hours or days after you discover your loved one has been arrested, trying to find out what happened and what you should do next. Below, I’ll answer some general questions like:
- Where are bond hearings held in Horry County?
- What are the different types of bond that are available in SC?
- What is a PR bond and how do you get one?
- How long does it take before a bond hearing is scheduled, and
- Can you get a bond reduction once the magistrate has set bond?
If you have questions about someone who has been arrested, how to find them, and how to help them, contact Conway criminal defense attorney Johnny Gardner at (843) 248-7135 or send us a message through our website.
Where is the Bond Hearing?
The location of the bond hearing will depend on 1) what the person is charged with and 2) where they were arrested.
Bond Hearings in General Sessions Court
Any crime that carries a potential penalty of up to life in prison – murder, for example – requires a General Sessions Court judge to set bond. Even if you immediately retain a criminal defense attorney who immediately files a motion to set bond, it could be weeks before a bond hearing is scheduled.
Burglary first degree is different – although it carries up to life in prison, magistrates and municipal court judges are authorized to set bond on charges of first-degree burglary and a bond hearing should automatically be scheduled soon after the arrest.
Motions to amend bond are also heard in the General Sessions Court – if a magistrate sets a bond amount that is unreasonable or that you are unable to pay, your attorney can file a motion to reduce the bond amount based on a change in circumstances or on other grounds.
Bond Hearings in the Magistrate and Municipal Courts
Most bond hearings are held in the magistrate or municipal (city) courts.
When a person is arrested and charged with any offense that carries less than a life sentence (or burglary first degree), the magistrate or municipal court is required to set that person’s bond.
Where the bond hearing will be held depends on where the person was arrested – if the charges are brought by the city’s police department (Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, or Surfside Beach police, for example), the bond hearing will be in the municipal court for that jurisdiction.
If the bond hearing is held in the municipal (city) court and the person is not released or cannot immediately afford to pay their bond, they are usually transferred from the city jail to the county jail – J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, SC.
If a person is arrested outside of city limits – anywhere in the county – they are usually taken straight to J. Reuben Long Detention Center and a magistrate judge will hold their bond hearing there at the jail the following morning or afternoon.
Any magistrate can set bond for a state or county criminal offense, but initial bond hearings are almost always held at the county jail as a matter of convenience.
What are the Different Types of Bond in SC?
Do you need a bondsman to get out of jail in Horry County?
You might, but only if the court sets what is called a “surety bond.” The possible types of bail/bond in SC include:
- Surety bonds – these require you to hire a bondsman (or possibly secure the bond with property), who will sign an agreement with the court promising to pay the full amount of your bond if you do not appear in court. In exchange for getting you out of jail, the bondsman will charge a non-refundable fee that is usually a percentage of the total bond amount, and they may also require you or a family member to sign over additional collateral, depending on the bondsman and your circumstances.
- PR bonds – short for “personal recognizance” bond, a PR bond will allow you to be released “on your own recognizance” without paying anything to a bondsman or the court, although you will still be on the hook for the bond amount if you don’t appear in court.
- 10% bonds – allows you or a family member to pay 10% of the total amount of your bond to the clerk, and the amount that you pay is refunded to you when your case is over.
- Cash bonds – you must pay the full amount of your bond to the clerk before you can be released, and it is returned at the end of your case (unless you tell the court to apply it to your fine or court costs). This is common with low-bond, minor offenses in the magistrate or municipal courts.
How Do I Get a PR Bond?
PR bonds in Horry County are common, but they are usually only granted to people who are charged with relatively minor offenses and who do not have a significant prior record.
Before deciding the type of bond and the amount of bond to set, the court is required to consider:
- What you are charged with and the circumstances of your arrest;
- Whether you have a job;
- If you have local family or other ties to the community;
- Whether you are a flight risk; and
- Whether you are a danger to the community.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bond Hearing in Horry County?
If you are arrested for an offense that does not carry life in prison, you should have a bond hearing within 48 hours of your arrest.
In most cases, you will see a bond judge the morning or afternoon after you are arrested, although the bond hearing might be delayed if an alleged victim wants to appear – the court has a victim’s advocate who will work with alleged victims to ensure they have an opportunity to appear and speak to the court before bond is set.
If you are arrested for murder, CSC with a minor first degree, or any offense that carries up to life in prison (except burglary first degree), your attorney will need to file a motion to set bond and get a hearing scheduled as soon as possible – which could take weeks or even months in some cases.
How Do I Get a Bond Reduction in Horry County, SC?
If the lower court denies your bond, if there has been a change in circumstances since your bond was set, or if a significant amount of time has gone by and you are unable to pay your bond, we can file a motion to amend bond in the General Sessions Court (or, sometimes, a motion to reconsider bond in the lower court) and ask the court to reduce your bond to a reasonable amount.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Bond Hearing?
At your bond hearing, your attorney can perform a valuable service by:
1) Ensuring that you do not speak during the hearing – anything you say at the bond hearing will be used against you later, and this is not the time to testify or litigate your case;
2) Speaking on your behalf to tell the judge about your employment, ties to the community, and why you are not a danger to the community or a flight risk; and
3) Letting the court know that you have retained counsel, you will be staying in touch with your attorney, you are taking the charges seriously, and you will appear in court when required.
Bond Hearing Attorney in Conway, SC
If you have been charged with a crime or believe you are under investigation in SC, get a local criminal defense attorney with over twenty years of trial experience on your side as soon as possible.
Contact criminal defense Lawyer Johnny Gardner today for a free consultation to find out how we can help.